Japan IRs Delayed Over Political Matters

Japan has been the focus of many giant casino operators from all over the world as it is the next hot spot for building a casino. After the bill that allows the construction of three Integrated Resorts in this country was passed, companies started flowing in and looking to suck up to politicians and organizations in order to get an opportunity to build the IRs. The original idea was to create a casino management commission consisting of five members by July 1, but it seems that the Prime Minister of Japan is backing off these plans. In other words, he decided to postpone the creation of the commission, and it is likely not going to happen this year.


The PM and his Liberal Democratic Party don’t seem to be at ease with the upcoming changes in Japan related to casinos. One of the reasons why Abe has been so skittish about it is that there are elections for the Diet’s upper house coming on in July. The subject of Integrated Resorts that also have casinos as a part of them has been quite a controversial one among the Japanese public, and it seems that Shinzo Abe doesn’t want to oppose the public, especially when there are elections coming.

However, that is not the only reason why the delay will take place. Another important reason is that the government still did not manage to finalize the ‘basic policy’ of the IRs. This includes things such as determining the places where to build those IRs and who the casino operators would be. In other words, the licensing process is still underway (or it did not even start yet?), and this is a reason good enough to postpone the creation of the casino management commission.

What Does the Future Look Like for Japan?

The government of Japan and its lawmakers approved the casino implementation legislation in July 2018. According to that text, the establishment of the commission was required to take place in the next 18 months. Furthermore, it suggested that the final basic policy needed to be completed in two years. Whatever the commission decides would be applied only if the Diet is approved as well. In other words, the Diet would have the power to vet the commission, directors and others.

It all started off pretty well, and some even speculated that there would be an IR before the Olympic Games in Tokyo begin. However, that seems rather unlikely at this point. Apart from the delays, there has been a shift when it comes to choosing the destinations for building IRs. At the moment, the most likely candidate for an IR is Osaka, which will also host the Osaka-Kansai World Expo 2025. In other words, Osaka could become a center of gambling in Japan in a couple of years, and tourists who visit the World Expo would have an opportunity to visit a casino.

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